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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

PREFACE
INASMUCH as Sir W. H. Flower and Mr. Lydekker could not
profess to treat the Mammalia exhaustively within the limits
of nearly 800 pages, in their Introduction to the Study of
Mammals, it is obvious that the present volume, which appears
ten years later and is of rather less size, can contain but a selec-
tion of the enormous mass of facts at the disposal of the student
of this group. Thus the chief question for myself was what to
select and what to leave aside, It will be observed that I have
reduced the pages of this book to conformity with those of
other volumes of the series by treating some groups more briefly
than others. It has appeared to me to be desirable to treat fully
such groups as the Edentata and the Marsupialia, and permissible
to be more brief in dealing with such huge Orders as those of the
Rodentia and Chiroptera. Lengthy disquisitions upon Fuch
familiar and comparatively uninteresting animals as the Lion and
Leopard have been curtailed, and the space thus saved has been
devoted to shorter and more numerous accounts of other creatures.
As there are nearly six hundred genera of living Mammals known
to science, omission as well as compression became an absolute
necessity* I have given, I hope, adequate treatment from the
standpoint of a necessarily limited treatise to the majority of the
more important genera of Mammals both living and extinct; but
the length of this part of the book had to be increased by the dis-
coveries, which give me at once an advantage and a diaadvantage
as compared with the two authors whose names I have quoted, of
a considerable number of important new types in the la&t ten years.